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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sleep (Or Lack Thereof)

Sleep. It's one of those things that parents tend to obsess about. "How are they sleeping?" "Are you getting any sleep?" "Sleep while the baby sleeps!" Sleep schedules, sleep training, co-sleeping... Are you overwhelmed yet?

G and A have always been decent sleepers. The only "complaint" that I have these days (and it really isn't that big of a complaint, most nights) is that if they do wake, they are pretty much garunteed to end up in our bed. It starts by whisking the whimpering baby out of his/her bed before the cries reach a point that would threaten to wake their neighbor - one baby is managable in the middle of the night, two can quickly tip the scales into Crazy Town. Usually there is some bopping around the living room or snuggles on the couch, but most of the time my sleepy, lazy parenting skills kick in and we head straight back to the Big Bed. "Just until they fall back asleep," is what I usually whisper to the grumbling husband lump beside me, but it never fails that just until they fall back asleep ends the next morning when all three of us wake up in a tangle of legs and arms and blankets and pacis.

Like I said, it's easy to get overwhelmed with sleep (or lack thereof). Early this morning though, as I was removing Audrey's foot from my kidney and replacing her paci for the 748th time, I was struck with a thought - there was a time when I would have given anything to wake up to a crying baby. Back when it was my screaming alarm waking me up every 3 hours, dragging me out of a fitful sleep to first hook myself up the ungainly tubes and plastic of the pump, and then to punch the over-used speed dial that kept me connected through the night to those teeny babies in the plastic boxes. Then, they were a few miles up the road instead of just down the hall, but for how I felt the distance could have been halfway from here to England. Back then, I wished so badly to have a crying baby in my bed.

And I know too, there will come a day - probably a lot sooner than I am prepared for - that my babies will be grown and not need (or want!) to snuggle in bed with me. And that will probably break my heart too and I will wish again for a crying baby in my bed. So yeah, I wake up with a stiff neck and bags under my eyes that you could pack a lunch in. But it's just a season, and really? I want to take the time to revel in it.


Friday, November 9, 2012


Life lately, in pictures from everyone's favorite photo app!
(Yes, I realize it's 9:15 on Friday night. I'm blogging to keep me awake until an appropriate bedtime for a Friday night. Wild life here, kids.)
We always go exploring after naps. This day was apparently a rock-collecting day.
Fall in Georgia can be SO wonky. 58 in the morning, 75 by the afternoon. We wear lots of layers here for a trip to the park. 
I did my civil duty. Insert political statement here.
Grayson says it's hard to be a toddler.
I snapped this on one of our afternoon walks. I guess next week I'll be buying her a car.
The babies have been practicing feeding themselves with utensils. Yogurt is tricky, as you can see.
We had pictures taken for our Christmas cards (by the AMAZING Amy of Amy E Photography ) I can't wait to get them back!
I made margarita cupcakes for a birthday dinner at a Mexican place. They were super yum.
G and A did cupcake quality control for me. They approved 
life rearranged

Monday, November 5, 2012


trau·ma [trou-muh, traw-]
noun, plural trau·mas, trau·ma·ta [-muh-tuh]
1. Pathology
a. a body wound or shock produced by sudden physical injury, as from violence or accident.
b. the condition produced by this; traumatism.
2. Psychiatry.
a. an experience that produces psychological injury or pain.
b. the psychological injury so caused.

The first time my doctor mentioned it to me, I scoffed. "PTSD?" I asked, "isn't that what happens to soldiers? To people who have been through shootings or bombings or plane crashes? Surely, a little time in the NICU doesn't qualify me for that."

"Jessica," she leveled with me, "your babies almost died. If that's not traumatic, I don't know what is."


I've always been emotional, passionate, maybe even a little high-strung. I've struggled with anxiety in my past. But the feelings I had about the babies birth and the months that followed - the worry, the worst-case scenario thoughts, the sleeplessness and anger and weight gain - I thought it was normal. Anyone in my position would feel the same, right?

For almost a year, I assumed that insert next step would make it better. Once they were off the ventilators, not so sick, out of the isolettes, on their way home. After we ditched the oxygen, stopped their meds, gained some weight, got through the scary winter, came off quarantine. Certianly, once this or that happened, I would feel better. Right? Except not. Because there we were, inching towards the babies' first birthday, and if anything I was feeling worse than the day they were born. I was constantly holding my breath, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

And with those four words - "your babies almost died" - my doctor validated all my feelings. Because she was right, so very very right. I had watched their heartbeats space out on monitors, seen their lips turn gray and felt their bodies go limp. Infections and setbacks and alarms dinging, things that haunt most mother's nightmares - that was my reality. And like it or not, it changed me.

So I started seeing a therapist, and I started taking Prozac. Are drugs right for everyone? No. But they were right for me. I'm not afraid any more. The nightmares have stopped, I can fall asleep easily, I can leave the house without melting down first. I don't feel guilty taking an hour for myself to go workout or have dinner with friends. I am living, really living, and enjoying my babies. Getting help through the medicine and the therapy does not make me less of a person, or less of a mother. In fact, it's just the opposite - I am a better overall for it. It has been over 6 months now, and while I hope I don't have to do this forever I know if I do, that's ok too.

So there you have it, friends. That's what has kept me from my little corner of the internet. I have been wanting to "come clean", but I was nervous. It was hard to put it into words. And don't get me wrong, our little life has been amazing, but I felt almost like a phony typing up these happy, chipper posts without telling you the truth behind them.

And now you know. This little flower needs sunshine AND rain to flourish :)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Letters to the Babies: 18 Months

Grayson and Audrey,

First of all, your mama is a big fat slacker. Sorry your "monthly letters" skipped from seven months to 18 months. Whoops. It's been a busy year, ok?

Second, eighteen months. What? I know I did not just type that. Eighteen month olds are like, toddlers. They are big. They are not babies. Surely that is not you.

Except somehow, it is.

As I am typing this, you two are literally chasing each other back and forth across the living room, giggling and sqealing and passing toys back and forth. This is the scene that I dreamed of when I first saw those two flickering heartbeats on the ultrasound screen. Then you two had to go and come 16 weeks early and this is exactly the scene that I was too scared to picture. I was so terrified that I would lose one or both of you in those early days I could barely picture the next 30 minutes, much less 18 months from then.

But somehow, here we are.

People used to warn me about these days. "You just wait, Jessica," they would say. "One day those two will be running circles around you and you won't even be able to keep up!" And it would make me so sad to hear this, because back then we were just pushing for you to breathe on your own, and normal things like walking and running seemed so far off in our questionable future that I couldn't picture it ever happening. They were right though, you know. I chase after you two all day until I'm dizzy, and then fall into bed utterly exhausted and so full to the brim with love that I could burst. I love you two so very very much and I hope that I never ever stop marvelling at you, my miracle babies (even when you're 17 and screaming that you hate me).

All the way up to the moon, and all the way back again,
Your Mama

Friday, September 28, 2012

Seester Love

Lots of exciting things have happened in the five months I was blog-absent, but one of the most exciting things is that Grayson and Audrey are getting a new cousin!!! My sister is pregnant with a little boy and due in January. I am so excited for squishy baby snuggles (because my two not-so-babies are way too busy for snuggles) and to watch my baby sister grow into the amazing, quirky mom I know she's going to be.

Caitlin and I could not be any more different as people, but as sisters we have always gotten along pretty well (except for one unfortunate high school incident involving a stolen sweater and a glass of orange juice). She was studying abroad in Australia when my whole birth-drama went down, but she was one of the biggest cheerleaders for all three of us on from afar.

Anywho, she sent me this letter today and said I could share it here. Get your hankies ready.

A and G (and yo mama):

I am 22 weeks pregnant with your cousin! WOO HOO! This is important for SO many reasons. I am almost to my final trimester. I feel great, I can feel little Cooper kick and kick and kick (it is so weird and SO comforting), and it is also strangely a very personal milestone. A bit over a year and a half ago your mama was in the exact same place I am now (with you two in her belly) when she went into labor.

Now, it may seem like a strange thing to consider a milestone. Let me explain one thing that will hopefully take you years and years to understand (and G you might never quite get it): pregnant women are crazy, hormonal, emotional, crazy, insane, irrational, crazy versions of normal people. That also said, this puts my understanding of what your mama went through into a whole new perspective.

Let me just say, at this very moment I do not have a crib. I haven’t had a shower. There are maybe three onsies and a few bits and bobs that I have purchased for Coop to wear, and most of that has come from friends or Mimi. Most of my baby stuff is actually hand me downs from you two… My point is, at this time in the pregnancy it is absolutely unfathomable to have a baby on its way in a matter of weeks. It is just far too early!!

So, basically, you should be pretty proud of your mama, if not for anything but keeping it together. The early labor part was just the initial scary uphill climb of the craziest of crazy rollercoasters that not even any of us moms can understand. You should also realize that when she freaks out about everything from your first skinned knee to your first date it is because she knows what it is like to not have those three months of comfort with you right there where you are supposed to be in her belly. Being able to keep your baby (no matter how old) right where you want them is a fight that we ALL will go through, and with her it is going to be even more intense. She has the right (perhaps even more than the rest of us do) to be the crazy, insane, emotional mom that we all will be at one time or another.

I consider this a milestone not only because of your mama, but also because of you two. Although you wouldn’t remember a lick of it, you two kicked some major ass in life before you were even three months old. You beat the odds and you came out of that three month NICU stay little champs. I was absolutely blown away when I first saw you (it was just after you came out of the hospital and I was lucky enough to be unemployed and sporadically staying on your mama’s couch- so we got to spend so much time together!) You two were so perfect! CUTE! And smart! I am so grateful for those few months I had with you guys. Basically, in my deranged pregnancy brain if your mama and you two made it with a traumatic labor at 22 weeks, then Coop will hopefully be okay too. You two give all little preemie and non-preemie babies so much hope!

I can’t wait for you guys to meet Coop, and I can’t wait to watch you grow and learn and be old enough to tell all the crazy stories about your mama that you would never believe. You have made my life so much bigger and I am so appreciative for this milestone and for all the milestones we will share in the future! I love you all so much.

Love and smooches,
Xx Cray aunt Cait

I know. I KNOW. I love her, too.

(And also, any stories she tells about me are lies, flasehoods, and embellishments. My teenage years were full of calm, rational, smart decisions. That's my story and I'm stickin to it.)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

*tap tap tap*

Is this thing still on?

Does anyone remember me? I'm the one with the two cute babies.

Except technically they're not babies anymore. Sometime between my last blog post in April and them turing 18 months (WHAT) they turned into these funny, mobile, opinionated, amazing toddlers.

They're still pretty dang cute though :)

Monday, April 30, 2012

Baby's First ER Trip

As the First Birthday mark came and went, I had a little bit of sadness at our dwindling list of "Firsts" to look forward to. Sure, there's steps, and words, and days of school, and fun things like that. But with the First Birthday, all the other holidays have past and have lost the title of "First". We've had first smiles and first laughs and first time trying solid food. My babies are growing up and it makes me kinda sad, yall. Each First we pass makes me a little bit more nostalgic.

Except this one. This one was no fun.

To my credit, we made it 9 months out of the hospital - and through RSV season! - before we had to go back. That's pretty good, by preemie standards.

All day Thursday though, and into Friday, Audrey was pretty fussy. She can be a little on the dramatic side sometimes (I have no idea where she gets it from) so I chalked it up to teething, and offered up all my go-to teething tricks. Friday she catnapped all day (so not like her) and before lunchtime she felt a little warm, so I added a dose of Tylenol to the mix before I fed her and put her down for her nap. When my mom (who was visiting) got her up from that nap, Audrey was burning up. I scrambled for the thermometer, stuck it under her armpit, and watched the numbers creep up. And up. And up.


I'd be lying if I said I didn't panic a little. I have never seen the numbers on a thermometer go that high. I called our pediatrician in a panic, but seeing as it was late Friday afternoon by this point he said that our best bet would be to skip his office and go straight the the ER at the Children's Hospital. We called Chris to come home early, left Grayson with my mom and headed out.

I've never been to the ER. I've never broken a bone or had food poisoning bad enough to warrant a visit *knocks on wood*. I've been to the hospital before - I had outpatient surgery once, and I visited my brother when we was born. And that whole 15-day stay in L&D when I had the babies. But I had never been to the ER. I was only slightly terrified.

When we got there though, it really wasn't that bad. They triaged her, took her vitals, and we only waited about 30 minutes before we were shown to a room.

Everyone at Scottish Rite was wonderful. The nurses and doctor we saw were so good with Audrey. Don't get me wrong, the visit itself was miserable. They had to insert a catheter to get a urine sample, and four nurses all tried to get blood from her with no success (apparently her veins are still terrible from all the NICU sticks). But the people? Fantastic.

All her tests came back normal though, and her fever broke with the combination of some Motrin plus one more dose of Tylenol and she was back to her smiley, charming self. The doctor said it was most likely just a virus. She also said that A was one of the prettiest babies she had ever seen. I don't now jack about the medical part but I totally agree with her on the latter :)

And by the next day, she was totally back to normal. She felt so good, in fact, that she was able to figure out this new trick.

Please send help.